Opting out of homework?

Homework for homework’s sake is a bad idea

Sir, – Further to “Why do parents allow children to continue doing homework when they can just opt them out?” (Life, September 28th), when I was primary teaching, homework was regarded as a necessary evil. It was given because it was perceived that parents expected it, not because of the inherent value in it. A teacher who didn’t give homework was regarded as a “bad” teacher. Giving it took up time at the end of the school day and correcting it took up time at the start of the day. It was, in the main, a rubber-stamping job. There was some merit to rote learning assignments such as learning ‘tables” or doing an extra bit of reading, or even learning spellings, but a page of “sums” or filling the blanks on an Irish worksheet was usually an exercise in homework for homework’s sake. The idea of “opting out” will cause problems, however. Not all parents will agree, which will set up an imbalance in a large class of 30 or more. There will be the fear that “my child is falling behind” if they don’t do homework. In summary, I see merit in using that time for memorisation or reading purposes, but the written homework is largely given because teachers believe that parents expect it. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.